Kenya Electricity Generating Company PLC (KenGen) has announced a renewed plan to scale up the deployment of renewable energy in the country by adding an additional 3000MW.
This new campaign will be driven largely by deploying up to 2000MW drawn from geothermal and hydro sources as baseload power to stabilize the country’s energy sources thereby diversifying away from expensive thermal sources.
At the same time, KenGen which is listed on the Nairobi Securities Exchange (NSE) says it has put in place plans to optimize the existing hydro sources even as it pushes for the development of new hydropower stations, and expansion of existing ones, particularly within the Tana River basin.
Speaking from KenGen’s Stima Plaza Headquarters in Nairobi, Ag. Managing Director and CEO, Abraham Serem said the company had revamped its corporate strategy and rolled out a 10-year strategy that seeks to add 3,000MW within the next 10 years. He further added that the company will be seeking to rehabilitate its existing power plants to make them more efficient for sustainable generation.
“The Board approved a ten-year corporate strategy last year and we are now ready to roll it out in this new year 2023 having developed a robust implementation plan to lead us in the next frontier of our business growth,” said Mr. Serem.
Mr. Serem added that KenGen would be looking to tap into the vast potential of geothermal energy in the Rift Valley region, which is estimated to be about 10,000MW of clean and renewable energy.
“So far we have only exploited about 0.9GW of the 10GW geothermal potential and that is why a huge chunk of the additional capacity will be drawn from geothermal,” said Mr. Serem adding, “Our focus going forward is to secure the baseload capacity to stabilize Kenya’s energy supply mainly from green renewable energy.”
The Ag. CEO of KenGen singled out the upcoming 305 MW geothermal projects, with 280 MW coming from Olkaria and 25 MW from the Eburru geothermal power plant, for which he said construction would commence immediately after getting the requisite approvals.
In addition, the NSE-listed company plans to leverage on new technology to rehabilitate its oldest geothermal power plant, the 45MW Olkaria I to give it a new life and increase its generation capacity to more than 60MW.
“We will also be rolling out plans to up-rate the turbines for the Olkaria I additional units 4 and 5 and Olkaria IV power plants to increase their output by an additional 40MW,” said Mr. Serem adding that all this was part of the wider plan to stabilize Kenya’s energy supply and catalyze the country’s economic growth.
On the Western side of the Country, KenGen has announced plans to rehabilitate its Gogo hydropower plant to increase its capacity by about 8MW from the current 2MW. This is expected to contribute to the stability of the power supply in the western region.
“Going forward, we will be seeking to enlist new drilling fields for geothermal after successful drilling expeditions in the existing fields,” said Mr. Serem adding, “the acquisition of new fields will be one of the major initiatives for us in the new year as we seek to take advantage of the 10GW geothermal potential in the country.”
At the same time, KenGen says it will continue with its commercial drilling projects in the Horn of Africa namely Ethiopia and Djibouti where the company has drilled several geothermal wells with the latest one being the first of three wells successfully completed in November 2022 at Gale le Koma geothermal site in Djibouti.
“We are happy to see our teams deliver the same level of success in other countries as we do here at home in Olkaria where we have also drilled more than 320 geothermal wells to depths of 3,000 meters,” said Mr. Serem adding, ‘In geothermal drilling, successful drilling of the first well is a major milestone as it gives the engineers and scientists more insights of the terrain to inform the drilling of the successive wells.”
The Ag. CEO went on to state: “We are also deliberately increasing our efficiencies in power plant Operations and Maintenance by training our staff to upskill and re-tool them to competently manage our existing power plants and also seek to give support to other organizations and countries in the region should the need arise.”
Also in the new year, KenGen is looking to roll out an E-mobility campaign aimed at leading Kenya’s transition from gasoline-powered vehicles to Electric Vehicles (EV) as another way of combating climate change while solving transportation challenges in the country.
The project, which was launched in November 2022, when KenGen unveiled its first four Electric Vehicles (EVs) in Nairobi is part of the company’s diversification ambitions in the e-mobility sector.
The four vehicles, which include two SUVs and two double-cabin pickups are primarily being used for data collection and policy development as the company prepares to install over 30 EV charging stations across the country in 2023. KenGen says preliminary results of the pilot so far are encouraging.
The venture is part of the NSE-listed company’s environmental and economic sustainability plan to reduce global Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions by inspiring confidence for wider EV adoption across the country. The company will use the cost and environmental data from the four EVs to transition its fleet to EVs, further demonstrating KenGen’s role in elevating its position on attracting investment funds financing green initiatives.